Russell D. Hantz is a contestant from Survivor: Samoa, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Redemption Island, and Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders (2018).

Regarded by many as one of the series' most infamous villains, Russell is notorious for his brash and callous gameplay, deliberately causing chaos at camp, finding several Hidden Immunity Idols unaided by clues, and eliminating his competition as ruthlessly as possible. Despite his considerable strategic prowess and ability to reach the Final Tribal Council twice, his unpleasant personality, lack of a social game, and his ineptitude at jury management have contributed to two losses at the Final Tribal Council. His tactics finally caught up with him in subsequent seasons, in which his tribes promptly voted him out at the very first opportunity.

Russell's legacy is hotly disputed, as his display of strategic prowess and ability to locate Hidden Immunity Idols have enabled him to reach the Final Tribal Council in his first two seasons. However, his interpersonal conduct rendered him virtually incapable of winning a game predicated on social relationships. He is at the core of wide-ranging debates about in-game ethics and the concept of acceptable Survivor gameplay.


Retrieved from

Russell Hantz (36)
Hometown: Dayton, Texas
Occupation: Oil Company Owner

Russell Hantz's personality speaks for itself when he proudly displays a missing tooth that he refuses to fix! This married father of four is visually memorable. Standing tall at only 5'6", he is built like a brick house with a bald head. At 200 pounds of pure muscle, Russell's solid figure and sharp tongue has helped him carve out a multi-million dollar business in the oil-tanking industry.

A huge Survivor fan, this self-made man built his business from scratch by working hard, speaking his mind and stepping on anyone who got in his way. Russell won't apologize for his style of game play either saying, "I'm not going out there to make friends. I'm just not doing it. But everybody is going to think I'm their best friend, because I'm just such a lovable character."

Russell can't wait to get in the competition and show "these morons how it's done" and he "plans to play the game dirtier, smarter and more cunning than anyone can imagine." It is those skills that have allowed him to achieve his biggest accomplishment in life and that is being able to provide for his family.

Russell is married with four children and currently resides in Dayton, Texas. His birth date is October 10.[1]

Retrieved from

Russell Hantz (37)

Tribe: Villains
Hometown: Dayton, Texas
Current Residence: Dayton, Texas
Personal Claim To Fame: "Starting my oil tankering service."
Inspiration in Life: "My grandfather."
Previous Finishes: Samoa: Runner-up
Favorite Past Moment: "Blindsiding Kelly."
Previous Survivor He Respects Most: "I don't respect any of them."
Previous Survivor He Respects Least: "I don't respect any of them."
Why Did He Come Back? : "Because I have to put these kids in their place. I'm not done playing just yet!"[2]

Retrieved from

Russell Hantz (38)
Current Residence: Dayton, Texas
Previous Seasons: Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Russell Hantz was a first time castaway only 2 years ago, but has quickly become one of the most notorious villains to ever play Survivor. He returns to Survivor: Redemption Island more prepared than ever before. "I'm ready for this. I'm more ready for this than I ever have been."

As a self-made millionaire who built his business by working hard, speaking his mind and stepping on anyone who got in his way, Russell will do anything to win the game of Survivor. He is known for back-stabbing his allies, lying and cheating, but he is proud of his title as a villain. "The image that I have as a villain, that's fine with me because this is how I play the game." Only time will tell if this strategy will pay off or if once again he will come up short.

What does he think of Survivor: Redemption Island? "It's gonna be history. Survivor history!"[3]

Retrieved from

Age: 45
Occupation: Survivor USA Super Player​
State: USA
Tribe: Champions

Regarded by super fans everywhere as Survivor's greatest villain, Russell is one of the most notorious characters in the US show's history.

Considered to be one of the most influential contestants of all time, Russell is ready to take a crack at his Aussie counterparts, making it the fourth time he has played the game.

Famous for his stints on Survivor Samoa, Heroes vs. Villains and Redemption Island, Russell has made it to the end but never won the title of Sole Survivor.

"I have no choice in this. I have to win. I have to prove to everyone that I can do it and I have to prove to myself that I am as good as people say I am."

Russell is one of only five contestants to be inducted into the Survivor Hall of Fame in 2010 and he is also one of the only competitors to ever make it to the finals in more than one season.

Lying, stealing, sabotaging his fellow tribe members, there's nothing Russell won't do to win. Father of four and recently a grandfather, he won't let anything get in his way saying, "When I'm out there, I am a blank screen. My family don't matter until I get off that island. I'll be playing for them but I won't let my emotions get in the way and I won't let it make me soft.

"I'm very excited to take on the Australians, they won't know what's hit them when they see me walking out on day one."[4]



I didn't come here to work, I came here to play, you got to talk about alliance as soon as step on this island, so my strategy is to be able to have a secret alliance with each one of these dumb girls. it is Day 1 now and I got an alliance with the dumb short haired blonde, the even dumber long haired blonde, and the dark haired girl.


Russell was placed on the Foa Foa tribe. He originally had a plan to dictate the entire tribe's voting politics, in which he was successful. In the first challenge, he was chosen for the leg of the race that required strength by tribal leader Mick. Foa Foa won the Reward Challenge. Right from the beginning, Russell demonstrated his preference to play through lies and deceit, creating conflicting alliances with every tribemate (mostly females) he came into contact with. He even lied about his personal life, claiming that he was a Hurricane Katrina victim. Still not contented, he became fond of wreaking psychological havoc whenever possible, even sabotaging his own tribe, as seen on Foa Foa's first night, where Hantz dumped all the water containers and burned Jaison Robinson's socks.

This plan took its toll on Foa Foa, whose subsequent failure in eight out of ten tribal challenges forced them to sacrifice six of their ten members. Marisa Calihan, Betsy Bolan, and Ashley Trainer were systematically eliminated after they caught on to Russell's dirty tactics. The only boot on Foa Foa that Russell had no authority over was Ben Browning, who he didn't want to vote out but reluctantly sided with the rest of the tribe. After Galu lost Russell Swan before a supposed double-boot twist on Day 15 because of a severe medical condition (which Hantz claimed was a partial victory for Foa Foa, since the rival tribe still lost a member), another loss sent Foa Foa back to Tribal Council, where Liz Kim was voted out when Hantz felt she was no longer needed. With only twelve people remaining, this prompted an early merger, and the two rival tribes were merged into a new tribe called Aiga. At the merge, the former Galu members outnumbered Foa Foa 2 to 1 (giving them an 8-4 majority) which created a grim outlook towards any chance of survival by the remaining (former) Foa Foa members.

His craftiness scaled new heights when he made an unthinkable Survivor first, finding several Hidden Immunity Idols without using the provided clues. With these Idols at his disposal, he became nearly invincible at Tribal Council.

With the tribes merged, Hantz gradually rallied the Foa Foa foursome (consisting of tribe leader Mick TrimmingJaison Robinson, Natalie White, and himself) to victory when they concocted a "divide and conquer" scheme, designed to make the former Galu's tribe members turn on each other. This proved effective when White turned the Galu women against cocky Erik Cardona, who was blindsided at the first Aiga Tribal Council (unknown to everyone at the time, they effectively flushed Erik's own Hidden Immunity Idol in the process). Hantz, on the other hand, used his Idol, though no votes were cast against him. Hantz again surprised everyone when he revealed another Idol at the following Tribal Council. This time, however, the effects devastated the former Galu's, because it was revealed that they had voted for him. With all seven of the votes against Russell cancelled out by the idol, only the four remaining votes cast by the former Foa Foa Tribe were counted, sending an unsuspecting Kelly Sharbaugh to the jury in a 4-0 vote.

After two subsequent blindsides of former members of the Galu tribe, Russell convinced Shambo Waters to shift allegiances to the former Foa Foa tribe members, as she felt unhappy with her own tribe and had a fierce hatred towards Laura Morett. This gave the former Foa Foa tribe the edge they needed, resulted in the remaining Galu members (eventually including Waters herself) to be picked off one by one, starting with Laura. Just when they thought that their victory was imminent, the remaining Foa Foa member's aspirations of making it to the final four were thwarted, when the last remaining (loyal) Galu member Brett Clouser went on to win a crucial Immunity Challenge, forcing the former Foa Foa members to eliminate one of their own, a task they had not faced in eighteen days. After Clouser's win, Russell's closest ally Natalie became the next intended target, but Russell had plans of his own, and secretly plotted to take her to the end, assuming that he would get more jury votes. He turned the tables on Jaison, who was eliminated instead.

After a close Final Immunity Challenge, Russell won immunity over Brett. In a last-ditch effort to stay alive, Brett tried to convince Russell to eliminate Mick instead of himself. Though Russell considered Brett's idea, the remaining Foa Foas prevailed as the last Galu member took his fall in a 3-1 vote.

At the Final Tribal Council, Hantz was berated for being arrogant and overly two-faced. Despite garnering votes from Shambo and John Fincher for his aggressive gameplay, he eventually lost when the other jurors voted for Natalie instead. At the Reunion Show, Russell attempted to bribe Natalie into surrendering the Sole Survivor title to himself for $10,000, and eventually $100,000, arguing that he was more deserving than she was, but Natalie politely declined. His newfound infamy, however, did earn him the Sprint Player of the Season title, which included a $100,000 award. Jeff polled the jury on who would have voted for Russell if he had taken Shambo and Jaison to the Final Three instead, and four people raised their hands which would be enough to guarantee him the win due to two people saying that they would vote for Shambo and one person saying that they would vote for Jaison.

Voting History

Russell H.'s Voting History
Episode Russell H.'s
Voted Against
Russell H.
1 Marisa -
2 Betsy -
3 Ben -
4 Foa Foa Tribe Immune
5 Ashley -
6 No Vote
7 Liz -
8 Erik -1
9 Kelly Brett, Dave, John, Kelly,
Laura, Monica, Shambo
10 Laura;
12 John -
13 Dave -
Monica Brett, Monica
14 Shambo -
15 Jaison -
Brett Individual Immunity
Jury Votes
for Russell H.
John, Shambo
Runner-Up, Day 39

^1 In All Hell Breaks Loose, Russell H. used a Hidden Immunity Idol, but did not negate any votes against him.
^2 In Tastes Like Chicken, Russell H. used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating 7 votes against him.
^3 In The Day of Reckoning, the vote ended with a 5-5 tie between Laura and Natalie, forcing a revote. Russell H. did not change his vote on the revote.

Heroes vs. Villains

If you're gunning for me, you're not gonna get what you want, not with me. You're gonna have to go.


His actions in Samoa earned him a place in the show's 10-year anniversary season. Assigned to the Villains Tribe, Russell stated that he very much looked forward to playing the game with people who respect what it is. On the first day, he repeated his original strategy of aligning with the women, Danielle DiLorenzo and Parvati Shallow, since the latter was marked as a serious threat to the seven other tribemates. However, Russell's strategies were put on hold as the Villains won two consecutive Immunity Challenges. While not shunned by the other seven members yet, Russell join the rest of the tribe in voting Randy Bailey out after losing the Day 8 Reward/Immunity Challenge.

After Bailey's elimination, the Villains won a Reward Challenge on Day 9, earning them additional tools to set up camp. While unpacking the items, Russell found a note sticking out from a knife's scabbard. Rob Mariano, who also saw the note, compelled Russell to share its contents. The note turned out to be a clue to the whereabouts of a Hidden Immunity Idol buried somewhere at camp. Sandra Diaz-Twine, a member of Rob's alliance, made an ultimatum, saying that whoever tries to look for the idol will be targeted immediately. Despite the warning, Russell searched for the idol anyway and eventually found it, but he was caught by Sandra. The incident revealed the two opposing alliances in the tribe: Russell, Parvati, and Danielle on one side, and Rob, Sandra, Tyson Apostol, Courtney Yates, Coach Wade, and Jerri Manthey on the other. The tribe however, remained dominant, winning five consecutive challenges.

On Day 15, a Double Tribal Council twist sent the Villains to their second Tribal Council. That afternoon, Rob proposed a simple solution to eliminate the threat of Russell's idol: split their six votes between Russell and Parvati (Rob, Sandra, and Tyson would vote Russell, while Courtney, Jerri, and Coach would vote Parvati), eliminating one of them, assuming if either person plays the idol. That way, it would enforce a tie between whoever Russell, Parvati, and Danielle voted, and whoever between Russell or Parvati remained vulnerable; and with majority of Rob's alliance eligible for the re-vote, it would be clear that whoever did not play the idol will be sent home. Aware of Rob's plan, he tricked Tyson into voting for Parvati to save himself. At Tribal Council, Russell drew the idol as expected; but pulled a double-cross by handing his idol to Parvati. But in a stunning turn of events, Tyson fell for Russell's trickery by casting a fourth vote against Parvati, eliminating himself after a 3-2-0 vote.

Despite his successful blindside of Tyson, Russell's alliance was still outnumbered 5-3. That is, until he made moves on faltering members Jerri and Coach, promising to take them to the end. Jerri accepted, with Coach still conflicted. After the Villains lost the next Immunity Challenge, Russell was ready to take down Rob with Jerri's support. Coach ultimately decided to not go with either alliance and vote off Courtney. Rob only had three members now and despite his efforts, Boston Rob was voted out by Russell's alliance in a 4-3-1 vote. This would send the Villains to a downward spiral.

Before the Day 19 Reward Challenge, the Villains mistook the Tree Mail for a cryptic message for the upcoming merge. The tribe showed up to the challenge bringing all their belongings, including their dismantled shelter and supplies. The Heroes tribe noticed that only the male Villains were eliminated. Deducing that Parvati ran a women's alliance, J.T. Thomas whispered to Russell to "hang in there," implying his intention to align with him. The Villains lost the challenge, forcing them to return to camp empty-handed and reestablish their shelter.

Knowing Russell's aggressive nature to those who tried to target him, Sandra seized the opportunity to save Courtney by tricking Russell into voting the floater Coach. After losing the Day 21 Immunity Challenge, Russell had arguments with Danielle on which between Coach and Courtney should go home. With the alliance unsettled on who to vote for, Russell and Jerri joined Coach and voted for Courtney, while Danielle and Parvati joined Sandra and Courtney, voting Coach out 4-3.

On the Day 22 Reward Challenge, Coach's elimination made the Heroes set in believing that the women were running the tribe. Seeing that the Heroes were making a mistake in believing such, Russell acted vulnerable to them, pretending that he needed help. The Villains won the challenge, winning themselves an all-you-can-eat buffet from Outback Steakhouse. While the Villains enjoy their lunch, Parvati saw a clue to the Villains' Re-Hidden Immunity Idol tucked in her table napkin. To ensure her own fate in the game, Parvati left Russell uninformed and only disclosed the clue to Danielle. Over at the Heroes tribe, the tribe decided to give Russell their own Hidden Immunity Idol should the Villains lose the next Immunity Challenge. J.T. even wrote a letter to Russell, telling him to use the idol and vote Parvati out. The Villains indeed lost the Immunity Challenge in Day 24; and while shaking hands with the enemy, Russell accepted the Heroes' idol through Colby. Russell showed the idol and read J.T.'s letter aloud to Parvati and Danielle, mocking his reputation as a former winner. Though Courtney begged Parvati for her survival, Parvati was not able to convince Russell to keep her, and Courtney was voted out, 5-1.

On Day 25, the tribes merged with five members each. The Heroes were surprised that Parvati was still in the game. Russell fabricated an elaborate story about him and Parvati playing conflicting idols that night. Sandra, the last remaining member of her alliance, warned the Heroes that there was no all-female alliance, and Russell was the mastermind behind all that has happened in the Villains tribe. Wanting to test his true loyalties, the Heroes openly told Russell they would vote for Parvati. In order to save Parvati for a second time, Russell handed the Heroes' idol to her. Unknown to Russell, Parvati already possessed the Villains' idol. Sensing that she might not be the Heroes' target after all, Parvati, now having two idols, gave both to Sandra and Jerri, much to Russell's surprise. Russell fumed over not knowing that Parvati had her own idol after giving one to her, saying that leaving him uninformed was unnecessary.

Russell felt Sandra would flip to the Heroes, and convinced Candice to betray her former tribe and vote off Amanda. This was successful, and Sandra did not flip to the Heroes, and Amanda was voted off in a 6-3 vote. That night, Russell found another Hidden Immunity Idol, thanks to Danielle, who obtained a clue to its whereabouts after winning the Reward Challenge. He used the idol at Tribal Council, but for naught, as nobody voted for him.

The next day, Russell was confronted by Rupert for his deceptions, where Russell derisively called him "the second coming of Christ" before giving him a middle finger. Russell then declared that whoever threatens him will go home. At the Immunity Challenge, where Russell's ally Parvati won individual immunity, a twist was revealed to the castaways, revealing that there is another Hidden Immunity Idol buried at camp. Returning from the challenge, Russell, and the rest of the tribe searched for the idol. That afternoon, Russell saw Rupert tucking something in his pocket, suspecting that it was the idol. (unknown to the tribe, Sandra found it, and kept her possession a secret to everyone). In reality, Rupert merely placed a rock in his pocket as a decoy, to force the Villains to split the vote between him and Candice. This prompted Jerri, Danielle, and Parvati to rethink their voting options. At Tribal Council, Russell, Sandra, and Jerri joined Rupert and Colby by voting Candice out after a 5-3 vote.

After winning individual immunity the next day, Russell worried that Parvati was more loyal to Danielle than she was to him, and decided to pit them against each other. Russell discussed Parvati's blindside to Danielle, and told Parvati that Danielle was gunning for her. Russell decided to vote out Danielle, and although her and Parvati learned the truth, Jerri sided with Russell to vote out Danielle after Danielle unintentionally revealed Jerri was fourth in their alliance. To gain the majority, Russell told the two remaining Heroes, Colby and Rupert, that he would keep them if they voted Danielle out with him. They agreed, and Danielle was voted out 4-3.

A loved ones Reward Challenge took place On Day 34, where Jerri won and invited Parvati and Sandra, and their respective loved ones, to join her. Russell, angry that Jerri did not pick him, decided to turn on Parvati by making a new alliance with Colby and Rupert. They agreed and Russell felt that Jerri could join his new alliance. Russell's plans were foiled when Parvati won individual immunity. Unknown to Russell, Sandra had found the idol; and while she did not need to use it, the Villains again prevailed, voting Rupert out, 4-0. Russell and the Villains would then finish off the Heroes by voting Colby out 4-1 on Day 37.

On Day 38, in a closely-contested Final Immunity Challenge between Jerri, Parvati, and Russell, Russell prevailed, securing his spot at the Final Tribal Council. That afternoon, Russell predicted that they should eliminate Jerri. Under the premise that Jerri might win, Russell covered up his true intention in voting Jerri out: He assumed that Jerri would vote for him, and taking Sandra to the end will be an easy win for him. Parvati, on the other hand, believed that Sandra should go, as the Heroes, who had five seats in the jury, would favor her. In the end, Russell sent Jerri to the jury anyway, after a 3-1 vote.

On Day 39, Sandra wanted to get even to Russell for eliminating her alliance and all the other atrocities he had done. She secretly burned his hat, to her and Parvati's entertainment. Russell tried to look for his hat, not knowing it was already in ashes. At the Final Tribal Council, Russell faced heavy criticism from the jury, mostly from the Heroes; as he was castigated for not only for his numerous betrayals, but for his mistreatment of the Heroes, and his sense of self-entitlement. In the end, Russell received no jury votes, Parvati got three, and Sandra was crowned Sole Survivor for the second time, with six, much to Russell's disgust.

At the live Reunion Show, Russell launched a tirade after his loss, calling Sandra "undeserving," and the game "flawed." Russell then revealed that he had kept and laminated the letter written to him by J.T. Thomas when he gave up his Hidden Immunity Idol to him. In response, J.T. grabbed the letter and attempted to burn it in a fire set up in front of the castaways and the audience which erupted laughter, but Russell managed to retrieve it before it got burned. Russell's notoriety gave him his second consecutive Fan Favorite Award, winning him an extra $100,000.

Voting History

Russell's Voting History
Episode Russell's
Voted Against
1 Villains Tribe Immune
2 Villains Tribe Immune
3 Randy -
4 Villains Tribe Immune
5 Villains Tribe Immune
6 Tyson Rob, Sandra
7 Rob Courtney,
Rob, Sandra
8 Courtney -
9 Courtney -
10 J.T. -
11 Amanda -1
12 Candice -
Danielle Individual Immunity
13 Rupert -
14 Colby -
Jerri Individual Immunity
Jury Votes
for Russell
Second Runner-Up, Day 39

^1 In Jumping Ship, Russell used a Hidden Immunity Idol, but did not negate any votes against him.

Redemption Island

This is my game, sucker!

–Russell (voting Ralph)

Russell returned to compete for a third time along with Heroes vs. Villains archrival Rob Mariano to settle their iconic rivalry in the said season. After a draw of buffs, Russell went to the purple Zapatera tribe. Immediately after the tribe reached camp, Russell stated that he would be playing differently than his previous seasons. He laid it out by saying that he would not sabotage anybody or do the things he was notorious for in the past. Despite his claims, the new contestants still became suspicious of him. Nonetheless, Russell led the tribe to two successive challenge wins. Knowing he had a big target on his back, he made a familiar move by again making alliances with the petite girls, Stephanie Valencia and Krista Klumpp. After winning the Day 5 Immunity Challenge, the three found the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol and tried to look out for it, but eventually failed, because Ralph Kiser already found it (by accident). Russell was then called out in the open by Ralph for stealing the clue, which angered the former. With no Immunity Idol, Russell feigned possession, with Stephanie holding her bag the whole day, so it would look like she is "protecting" the idol.

On Day 8, hungry for Russell's downfall, the six other tribe members concocted a bold plan to get rid of Russell. First, they would tell Russell that Francesca Hogi won the first duel (which in truth, it was Matt Elrod who won, potentially throwing Russell off-guard once he steps in at Redemption Island) and second, they will purposefully throw the next challenge, to have an opportunity to go to Tribal Council and vote him out. The idea would go as planned at the Reward/Immunity Challenge, as Julie sabotaged her part of the challenge and David acted as if he was unable to finish the puzzle, giving the victory-hungry Ometepe tribe their first challenge win.

Since Ralph had not yet revealed his possession of the idol to his allies, the majority alliance assumed that Russell may have it and decided to split the votes between Russell and one person from his alliance. Russell's alliance found out about the split vote plan and tried to flip Julie to vote out Ralph 4-3-2 (since Russell and Ralph had an ongoing conflict). At Zapatera's first Tribal Council, Russell continued to stress out that he was a changed man, while Stephanie was trying to protect him, saying that his past experience will propel them in future victories. However, the alliance of six went to their plan, with the vote ended up a three-way tie between Russell, Stephanie and Ralph. With five of the six-person alliance eligible for the revote, all their votes went to Russell. As Jeff snuffed his torch, a furious Russell walked out from Tribal Council and headed to Redemption Island. Upon arriving to Redemption Island and expecting to see Francesca (as he was told she won), he was surprised to see Matt instead and after telling Matt this, this promoted Matt to chuckle.

Angry of being double-crossed by his tribe, Russell vowed to defeat Matt. However, in a surprise turn of events, the villain finally fell from grace after being defeated in the Day 9 duel. Much to the spectators' surprise, Russell was reduced to tears seconds after losing, stating that he had really changed. Some people who were in attendance to watch the Duel were also in tears. Russell congratulated Matt for defeating him and left the Redemption Island Arena. During his final words statement, Russell stated that he would never play again because he felt he had nothing else to prove to himself and his family.

After losing for the third time, Russell said in his final confessional that he will not be returning to play Survivor. However, there is still a chance he might return, as he said to Jeff during a Skype chat after the airing of the episode that he may consider returning for a future season. Russell told Jeff to "keep his number" for a future season during the Redemption Island Reunion Show. Also at the Redemption Island Reunion Show, Russell congratulated his rival Rob Mariano's victory and proceeded to shake his hand.

Voting History

Russell's Voting History
Episode Russell's
Voted Against
1 Zapatera Tribe Immune
2 Zapatera Tribe Immune
3 Ralph;
Mike, Ralph, Steve;
David, Julie, Mike,
Sarita, Steve
Voted Out, Day 8
4 On Redemption Island
Eliminated, Day 10

^1 In Keep Hope Alive, the vote ended with a 3-3-3 tie between Russell, Ralph, and Stephanie, forcing a revote. David, Julie, and Sarita changed their votes to Russell on the revote, sending him to Redemption Island.

Champions v Contenders

Russell's presence in the game had an immediate impact, immediately being recognized by the rest of the players as an experienced and threatening individual. Once again Russell approached another young woman, this time Monika, to be his primary ally. In the first few days Russell found a Hidden Immunity Idol as well as seemingly recruited Sam into his alliance as well. After the Champions won the first two full challenges, Russell started to provide more advice for camp life such as which reward to select and bond with more players, finding some backup among the men in the tribe. However, Moana overheard Russell and Damien talking over the fire at night, causing her to be immediately suspicious of Russell. The Champions lost the following Immunity Challenge, and Russell made a big move revealing to the entire tribe that he has a Hidden Immunity Idol. Russell's intent was to cause panic, divide the tribe, and take out Jackie (who he had initially attempted to align with) all without playing his idol at this Tribal Council. Meanwhile, Moana recruited numbers to target Russell, and found some roadblocks with Lydia trying to target perceived weak links such as Shane and Damien. At Tribal Council, Russell and his idol were at the center of attention, and the tribe was still not on the same page going into the vote. Russell did not play his idol, but Moana amassed just enough votes to force a 4-4-2-2 tie, with Russell and Jackie being the only options for the revote. Damien remained loyal to Russell, but the rest of the tribe took this opportunity to flush the idol and vote out Russell, and he was voted out 9-1 in the revote.

Voting History

Russell's Voting History
Episode Russell's
Voted Against
1 Champions Tribe Immune
2 Damien;
Moana, Samuel, Shane, Sharn;
Brian, Lydia, Mat, Moana, Monika,
Samuel, Shane, Sharn, Steve W.
Voted Out, Day 5

^1 In Episode 2, the vote ended with a 4-4 tie between Russell and Jackie, forcing a revote. Brian, Lydia, Mat, Monika, and Steve W. changed their votes to Russell on the revote, eliminating him from the game.


  • On January 9, 2010, Russell attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party along with all of his Heroes vs. Villains cast mates.
  • In February 2010, Russell appeared on Late Show with David Letterman as Top Ten List Presenter #9 along with nine of his Heroes vs. Villains cast mates.[5]
  • Russell's infamy earned him a spot in Xfinity's Survivor Hall of Fame in 2010, being one of its first five inductees.
  • In 2012, Russell and his older brother Shawn (Brandon's father) hosted their own reality show called Flipped Off that aired on A&E. It ran for seven episodes from April 28-June 16, 2012.
  • Russell made a cameo appearance on Big Brother 14 on the first episode after his brother, Willie Hantz, got invited to be a contestant at the Big Brother House. He was also mentioned frequently during that season by Willie and several other contestants. Willie was expelled on Day 14 for headbutting a fellow contestant in the nose and for throwing pork rinds at another contestant for making him a "Have Not."
  • In 2012, Russell divorced his wife Melanie.[6] He is currently single.[7]
  • In 2014, the Hantz family will star a reality show called Holding Hantz. A trailer for the show revealed that the Hantz family pooled money to put up their own restaurant.[8]
  • Russell launched a podcast called "The Russell Hantz Show" on May 22, 2017.[9]

Spoiling Controversy

  • In 2011, Russell was accused for spoiling the results of his first two seasons. In a statement from known Survivor spoiler James "Jim" Early (known to the Survivor fanbase as Missyae), he stated that his source of information was Russell. Early claimed that Russell leaked very important information, such as challenge wins and accurate boot lists of both seasons. Early also claimed that Hantz even tried to implicate his fellow contestants to the controversy. The spoilers reached the online Survivor forum, Survivor Sucks.[10]
  • Hantz countered the claim, saying that he respected the producers so much, and he would not do such betrayal. In August, 2011, A lawsuit was filed against Early for "misappropriation of trade secrets" and "tortuous interference with contract." But due to the cooperation of the accused, the case was dismissed. According to the Survivor Rulebook, disseminating such information before its intended release is a breach of contract, with a $5,000,000 lawsuit awaiting any violators.
  • Months before the premiere of Survivor: Redemption Island, Early released a leak about its alleged cast, which included model Carrie Prejean and boxer Kimbo Slice. Early again purported that Hantz was his source. In answer to the rumor, Russell mocked Early's incorrect information in a Facebook post.
  • A PDF copy of the complaint was released.

Feuds with Brandon Hantz

He didn't do one thing right. He went out there to change the Hantz name? To change what I did?! That doesn't even make sense to me!

–Russell Hantz (on his nephew's showing on Survivor: South Pacific)

  • Over Survivor: South Pacific's run, Russell bashed his nephew, Brandon Hantz, because of his perceived terrible performance. He, along with Survivor: Nicaragua alumnus Shannon Elkins, poked fun at Brandon over Twitter. Brandon took the tweets personally, starting a Twitter war between him and his uncle. The conflict died out eventually.[11]
  • Russell appeared during the South Pacific Reunion Show as an audience member, where he was asked about his thoughts on his nephew's time on the show. Russell was visibly appalled by his nephew's perceived lousy performance and launched a tirade at him, receiving boos from the crowd. In response, Jeff jokingly suggested "Brandon vs. Russell" as a future season.
  • In 2012, Russell and Brandon again were in a conflict, after Russell allegedly spreading rumors that Brandon is gay. Brandon launched his tirade in a YouTube video, debunking the said rumor, even as going far as revealing that Russell was living in a trailer.
  • Russell said after the filming of Survivor: Caramoan that he was proud of the way Brandon played the game, because Brandon went a different route in his second chance.



  • Russell is the fifth person to play Survivor four times after Rob Mariano, Rupert Boneham, Ozzy Lusth, and Cirie Fields.
    • He, however, is the only one of these five to have one of those appearances on a foreign version of Survivor.
  • Russell is the only four-time castaway to never participate in a tribe switch of any kind.
    • If only his American appearances are counted, he is one of two three-time castaways with this distinction, the other being Coach Wade.
    • Russell currently holds the fewest days lasted for a four-time contestant with 93.
  • Russell holds the record for possessing the most Hidden Immunity Idols across multiple seasons with seven, six of which he found himself and one which was given to him by J.T. Thomas.
    • If only his American appearances are counted, he still holds the record, having possessed six idols across his three American seasons.
  • Russell in Samoa holds the record for the most idols found in a single season with 3. This has since been matched by Tony Vlachos in Cagayan, Tai Trang in Game Changers, Ben Driebergen in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, and Rick Devens in Edge of Extinction. While Rick possessed 4, he only found 3 as one was given to him.

Survivor (U.S.)

  • Russell originally applied for the second season of another Mark Burnett CBS series Pirate Master. However, Pirate Master was cancelled after one season because of anemic ratings.[12]
  • In Samoa, Russell and his fellow finalists, Mick Trimming and Natalie White, tied with Denise Stapley, Spencer Bledsoe (in Cambodia), Ken McNickle, Lauren O'Connell, and Rick Devens for the most Tribal Councils attended in a season, with 15.
  • Russell lost 60 lbs. during his time in Samoa.[13]
  • Russell was not known to the other Heroes vs. Villains cast members as Samoa had just finished filming when they arrived. Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains were filmed only a few weeks apart. As a result, Russell is the first returning contestant to be completely unknown to the rest of his season's cast.
    • Russell is the first returning player to compete on his second season before his first season premiered. He was followed by Malcolm Freberg, Zeke Smith, and Michaela Bradshaw.
    • Russell was the only contestant in Heroes vs. Villains who had never previously played with any of the other contestants.
      • He and Rob were the only two contestants who were the only representatives of their original season, though Rob had played with several other contestants in Survivor: All-Stars.
  • Russell is the first player to use a Hidden Immunity Idol on another player and negate enough votes to save them from elimination.
  • Russell is the second of two players to win the Fan Favorite Award twice and on two consecutive occasions, following James Clement.
  • Russell was the only male member of the Villains tribe to make it to the merge.
  • Russell is the second contestant to reach the Final Tribal Council twice, following Amanda Kimmel. They were followed by Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and Rob Mariano.
    • He is the second payer to make it to the Final Tribal Council in back to back seasons, following Amanda Kimmel.
    • He is the only contestant to make it to the Final Tribal Council twice but not experience both a Final Two and Final Three, as both times he was in a Final Three. 
  • Russell is one of four Survivor contestants (along with Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow, and Amanda Kimmel) to play at least three times and only be voted out once.
    • Russell is the only male to achieve this.
  • Russell is the first contestant to be voted out following a three-way tie.
  • Russell is the first male contestant to lose a duel on Redemption Island.
    • Russell is the first returning player to lose a Redemption Island duel, and the only one to do so in the one-returnee-per-tribe format.
  • Russell was the only male contestant to be eliminated pre-merge in Redemption Island.
  • Russell holds the record for appearing on three seasons in the shortest time period, participating in three out of four consecutive seasons from Samoa to Redemption Island.
  • Russell and Rob Mariano are the first two contestants to play three times and never be a member of the jury. They would later be followed by Sandra Diaz-Twine and Jeff Varner as of Game Changers.
  • Out of the original five castaways inducted into the Survivor Hall of Fame in 2010, Russell was the only one who has never won Survivor.
    • However, Rob had not won Survivor yet at the time he was inducted.

Australian Survivor

  • Russell is the first American contestant to compete in a foreign version of Survivor. However, he is not the first American contestant to appear in a foreign version of Survivor, as Rupert Boneham made a guest appearance in the Israeli version as a reward in a Reward Challenge.
  • Russell and Joan Caballero are currently tied for the most votes received at a single Tribal Council on Australian Survivor, with 13.


  6. Fishbach, Stephen (May 2008, 2012). "Stephen Fishbach Talks to Russell Hantz About Flipped Off".,,20591347,00.html. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  7. Cesternino, Rob (June 1, 2014). "Russell Hantz on His Family's New Show, Tony and Survivor Cagayan". 
  8. "Holding Hantz". Hantz TV. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  10. Dehnart, Andy (January 31, 2011). "Survivor Spy Exposed". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  11. Ashley, The (December 1, 2011). "Hantz Family Has Been Torn Apart by 'Survivor'". The Ashley's Reality Roundup. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 

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